As 2019 begins, there are two key markets mortgage lenders can focus on that are expected to increase substantially this year, according to Alec Hanson, loanDepot vice president of regional production and HousingWire 2017 Rising Star.

The Rising Stars represent the best young leaders in the mortgage industry – in lending, servicing, investing and real estate. Know someone who would qualify for this? Nominate them here! Nominations for 2019 are open now and will close on February 22, 2019.

HousingWire’s Rising Stars program recognizes industry professionals under 40 who have become leaders in their respective fields. Those who are helping move the market forward, and making a strong impact on the housing economy.

The winners will be announced in HW Magazine’s June issue.

“Now is an amazing time to be in the lending business,” Hanson said to those just beginning their career. “We are at the cusp of a massive evolution of our entire industry and those willing to embrace change, new technology, and new strategies will thrive as the old model and those that cling to it lose their relevance and likely go out of business.”

HousingWire sat down with our previous Rising Star winner to get some insight on the housing industry today.

HousingWire: How can loan officers grow their business in today's competitive market?

Hanson: Check out my new training program I launched. It’s designed to answer that exact question and it has a full playbook behind it which is our secret sauce, so I can’t share that.  But I believe the modern LO has to master these eight areas/modules I identify on that site.

[Some of the areas Hanson says loan officers must master include brand, digital marketing, local marketing, referral partners, lead management, consultation and quoting, mortgage CX and relationship for life. Click here to read more about each of these topics.]

HW: What market do you see as being the “hot market” in 2019?

Hanson: First-time homebuyers and renovation financing. Honestly, these two areas are going to be MASSIVE.

HW: What's the best advice you received from someone else, early in your career?

Hanson: Reach out to the best in the business. With social access, you can reach across the entire country and connect with the best in the biz. Many of those originators are very open to sharing their ideas or helping newbies get into the business. But even from there, you can see what they do daily via social and learn that way too.